Remarks by Chairperson and Chief Executive
Together, We build
In the past year, there was an increasing demand for civic participation in public policy formation, and a number of social issues had become the focus of public discussion. Together with Agency Members and grassroots organizations, the Council continued to advocate for the improvement of policies and services related to social welfare, poverty alleviation, education and housing. Twenty-two submissions were presented to the Government during the year.
The Government launched a six-month consultation exercise on retirement protection in late 2015. The Council did not only submit our position paper and recommendation on universal retirement protection, but also launched a “Talk about Pension” Project so as to raise public understanding and encourage public engagement. The Project included educational programmes and leaflets for service users and welfare personnel, street booths for the general public, as well as an online platform. A public opinion poll was also conducted, which found that most respondents supported a non-means tested universal retirement protection system, so as to provide income security to all elderly people.
The Council spares no effort to engage stakeholders in the deliberations of public policies or services development, as they have firsthand knowledge of concerned social needs and are often most affected by any policy changes. We also seek to influence policy making through engaging government officials and political parties, and reflecting the sector’s views to concerned advisory bodies. Successful examples included the exemption of NGOs from 1% cut in welfare subvention in the year of 2016/17, the formation of “The Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses”, and measures to increase the provision of para-medical professionals.
Cross-sectoral efforts are crucial to social development, and hence the Council has developed itself to be a major platform for promoting partnership with business and professional sectors. Last year, the Council recognised the efforts and contributions of over 3,200 caring companies and organizations, which were all nominated by NGOs. A new scheme named “Sustainable Business HK” was also launched to encourage business corporations to integrate socially responsible measures into their business operation, so as to do good and do well at the same time.
Youth involvements in social movements, student suicide cases, and other incidences have caused the public to care about the situation of the youth in Hong Kong, including their aspirations for the future. The Council initiated “Youth Civic Engagement Project” and “Video Production Project to Tell Youth Stories”, with a hope to foster youth participation in community affairs and their communication with other generations. Furthermore, the Council carried out “Hong Kong Financial Education Landscape Research” and “A Study on Living Situation of Young Adults in Hong Kong”, as well as a number of career development schemes, so as to identify measures for promoting upward social mobility.
The Council will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2017. We are grateful to our Agency Members, partners and funding bodies for their continuous support which has contributed to all our achievements. Looking ahead, population ageing poses big challenges to Hong Kong, while at the same time provides opportunities for social innovation and applications of technology to improve social care and build an age-friendly society. Let’s work together to build a society for all.
Mr. CHUA Hoi Wai, Chief Executive, HKCSS & Mr. Bernard Chan, GBS, JP, Chairperson, HKCSS